David Parkin looks to banish the January blues

FOR the first time in years I went to a pantomime at Christmas.

No I’m not going to say it.

OK I will.

Oh yes I did.

Sleeping Beauty at the Woodville Theatre in Gravesend.

A host of theatrical greats were in the cast.

Well, Linda Lusardi and 90s girl group Cleopatra (Comin’ Atcha!).

The 12-year-old daughter of friends was a dancer in the show which was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon during that odd time between Christmas and New Year.

In fact, Andy Green, who featured in my last blog, came up with a name for those few days at the end of December – Twixtmas.

Andy encouraged one and all to celebrate Twixtmas but I don’t think it caught on.

Back to the panto and the dame was a character called Nanny who did a great impression of Donald Trump.

It is always easy to laugh at a large, loud, orange buffoon who makes ridiculous comments.

As long as they are on stage in panto and not in the Oval Office.


AFTER the show we headed back to my friends’ house and over dinner their nine-year-old son produced his favourite Christmas present, a 2018 Guinness Book of Records.

Having heard his sister tell us of her conversations with Linda Lusardi and Cleopatra, I was keen to underline my celebrity friend credentials and searched in vain in the book for a listing for Ed Wood, who last year, you may remember, broke the record for the fastest time to visit all English football stadiums.

I frantically fired off a text to Ed and received a reply within seconds: “Page 12. Bottom left.”

The result was one suitably impressed nine-year-old and my celeb credibility restored.

It’s who you know.


NEWS arrived before Christmas of the passing of two men who I wrote about quite a bit during my time at the Yorkshire Post.

John Goodfellow, former chief executive of Skipton Building Society died at the age of 70 after a short illness.

A gruff, no-nonsense Glaswegian, John led the mutual society when it embarked on a series of acquisitions which took it from a simple savings and loans society to adding an estate agengy, stockbroking, finance and research group.

Some worked, some didn’t but it certainly changed the Skipton from a sleepy market town mutual into a multi-faceted financial business.

One of the businesses acquired by Skipton was a successful University of Leeds spin-out called GMAP founded by a geography professor Martin Clarke.

Martin, who I have known for many years, is an entrepreneur first and an academic second, and I remember him telling me about the sparring matches he had with feisty John Goodfellow.

He recalled how when the deal to buy the business was being thrashed out in a late night meeting at law firm Addleshaw Goddard’s Leeds offices, John left the room and lit up a cigarette on the mezzanine level outside the conference room.

Told that it was a non-smoking building, John cursed, reminded the lawyer how much he was paying for their fees and carried on smoking.

Skipton added GMAP to the portfolio of businesses it developed as part of Callcredit – now a successful Yorkshire-based business on its own.

Another sad departure to report was Bev Smalley.

Bev set up the Coutts private bank office in Leeds in 1992 and was later lured away in 2001 to open an office in the city for US banking giant Merrill Lynch’s private client group.

Amid great fanfare the American business, whose logo is a bull standing strident and strong, opened a glitzy office in No 1 City Square in Leeds only to shut it eight months later blaming a downturn in the world economy.

I know Bev and his colleague Chris Perkins felt badly let down by Merrill’s meek retreat but they quickly bounced back with London-based wealth manager SG Hambros.

Bev, who was involved in the Territorial Army, always appeared very pukka with his clipped voice and chalk striped City suits – until I found out that, like me, he was from Derbyshire.

Both Bev and John were significant figures in Yorkshire business and two real characters who made an impact.


IF you’ve decided to do Dry January or still have a hangover remembering the last dull and formulaic dealmakers dinner you went to then I have the answer.
The Big Ticket is back on February 1 – a night to celebrate the success of the corporate finance, business and legal and financial community in Yorkshire.

No awards, no speeches, no black tie, no tasteless chicken dinner – just a live band, street food, a well stocked bar and great company at the Wardrobe venue in Leeds.

And the Big Ticket will raise a lot of money for the Maggie’s Yorkshire charity which is building its first centre in Yorkshire for cancer patients and their families at St James’ Hospital in Leeds.
Banish those January blues and book your tickets today.

It will make Dry January that bit more bearable.


DRIVING up the M1 motorway over Christmas I turned on the radio and tuned in to BBC Radio 5 Live.

Realising it was it was its football phone-in show 606, where a dreary procession of miserable football fans call up to complain about their club, I was just about to switch over when I heard a voice I recognised.

“We’re now going to speak to Mark who is a Stoke fan,” said presenter Jason Mohammed.

Sure enough it was Harrogate-based Stokie and corporate financier Mark Eardley.

He proceeded to get into an argument with be-quiffed co-presenter and former Welsh international Robbie Savage about the merits of Stoke manager Mark Hughes.

Unfortunately the line went down just as Robbie and Mark verbally crossed swords and things sounded like they were going to get interesting.

It was a pity as I really felt that was a meeting of minds.

Have a great weekend.

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